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How to calculate a capital loss

Last updated 7 July 2013

Generally, you make a capital loss if your reduced cost base is greater than your capital proceeds. The excess is your capital loss.

Example 14: Calculating a capital loss - Antonio

Antonio acquired a new income-producing asset on 28 September 1999 for $100,000, including stamp duty and legal costs. He sold it for $90,000 in November 2011. During the period he owned it, he was allowed capital works deductions of $7,500. Antonio works out his capital loss as follows:

Cost base


less capital works deductions


Reduced cost base


less capital proceeds


Capital loss


Example 15: Calculating a capital loss - Chandra

In July 1996, Chandra bought 800 shares at $3 per share. He incurred brokerage and stamp duty of $100. In December 2011, Chandra sold all 800 shares for $2.50 per share. He incurred brokerage of $75. He made a capital loss, calculated as follows:

Calculation of reduced cost base

Date expense incurred

Description of expense


July 1996

Purchase price


July 1996

Brokers fees and stamp duty


December 2011

Brokers fees


Reduced cost base



Calculation of capital loss


Reduced cost base


Capital proceeds 800 x $2.50


Capital loss


However, the reduced cost base is not relevant for some types of CGT events. In these cases, see appendix 1 for the amounts to use for the particular CGT event.


Reduced cost base

You cannot index a reduced cost base.

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